Cushion Makeup Is About To Be Your New Favorite Thing

Photo: Via Etude House.
Cushion compacts pushed onto the scene over five years ago, and have since been a huge hit on the foundation market and spawned parallel products — especially in South Korea. Beauty brand Iope claims that its Air Cushion is sold every six seconds and that more than a third of Korean women use it.
What is a cushion compact, you ask? It's basically a BB/CC cream contained in a sponge to keep everything from spilling. Women love the convenience because it allows them to touch up without having to break out a tube of cream and deal with the residual gunk on their fingers. Pressing on the cushion with the applicator puff yields an even layer of just the right amount of product — the result is weightless, buildable coverage.
But, cushions aren't just more convenient in terms of application: Their new and improved formula has skin conditioners to hydrate your complexion. The trend has hit such a resounding note with Korean women that cosmetic brands scrambled to see what iterations they could wring out. So, cushion begot more cushion: concealer, blush, lip tints, eyeliner — they're all out there. And, they're making themselves known stateside, too.
Ready to give the trend a try? Click through to see our top picks.
1 of 11
Photo: Via Iope.
The Iope Air Cushion scores major points for lazy girls. If hitting snooze means more to you than waking up 10 minutes early to throw on makeup, this baby will change your life. In my experience, the formula just looks better than other brands'. After the product has had time to absorb, the face glows in an effortless, natural way.

My only gripe is that for the price, you could get a whole bottle of BB cream that would last months longer. In fact, at one point, I was going through one per month. A tip to stretch its use: Flip the cushion once it starts to run out, so you can get to the balm that’s settled on the bottom. Also, the compact comes with one extra refill pack — after you get your first, you can keep buying refills.
2 of 11
Photo: Via Laneige.
I feel like this concealer is completely underrated, and it’s time for it to come out from under the shadow of its famous predecessor, the cushion compact. The formula is infused with moisture, something the sensitive undereye area could always use more of.

I love it for its spot-correcting abilities, but it may not be so great for heavier tasks like acne-fighting. Though it goes on watery, the finish is slightly powdery and matte without settling into fine lines. The cushion isn’t just a gimmick. It’s able to deposit the liquid product in an even layer without the streakiness of similar brush-type concealer pens. One of my favorite features is the little side window in the packaging, which makes it visually apparent how much product is left in the pen.
3 of 11
Photo: Via Etude House.
This cushion primer creates a nice color-correcting base to smooth out imperfections before applying the rest of your makeup. True to its multitasking roots, this primer moisturizes and offers sun protection. The “magic” is its luminous, brightening effect. It comes in two varieties: Magic Mint counteracts redness, while Magic Pink livens up pale or yellowy skin.
4 of 11
Photo: Via Too Cool for School.
True to the cushion compact’s heritage, this blusher incorporates skin care into its formula. Nourishing those cheeks while giving them a rosy glow? Want. Lightly tapping the applicator releases a watery tint onto the cheeks. The three shades are bright and fun, but be warned that they may read a bit teenybopper for those who prefer natural hues. Oh, and just so you know: There’s a dinosaur wearing Hawaiian-print board shorts on the packaging.
5 of 11
Photo: Via Peripera.
Similar to Too Cool for School’s dinosaur-themed blusher, this one moisturizes while imparting a hint of color. The formula, which contains vitamin E and grapeseed oil, goes on pretty wet, but leaves a subtle, dewy glow.
6 of 11
Photo: Via Iope.
One air cushion to rule them all. The Iope blusher looks almost exactly like its famous sister — the original Air Cushion — but instead of depositing CC cream and coverage, it lends a hint of rosiness. It’s formulated with 30% mineral water, so layering it builds to a dewy, natural-looking glow. A word of caution: It only comes in two shades, which aren’t ideal for skin tones outside porcelain.
7 of 11
Photo: Via Hera.
I love this cushion eyeliner for all the reasons I can’t stand gel liners. Every gel liner I’ve ever owned dries out, and I’m left with an expensive lump of product that never got to live out its potential. This one doesn’t go Serengeti on me. It also washes off easily, especially considering its staying power. (Usually, eyeliners that are awesome at staying on and not bleeding are also awesome at not wanting to come off, ever.)

My only warning is that it isn’t for newbies. It dries pretty fast after applying, so there’s little room for error. If you’re used to using a pencil or liquid pen, free-handing a (quick-drying) brush may be too much to handle.
8 of 11
Photo: Via TonyMoly.
This eye pot has a springy, moist texture similar to MAC’s paint pots. I’ll be honest: I'm not a fan of the packaging or the color selection, but I do like the pillowy application.
9 of 11
Photo: Via Peripera.
Cushion Lips is great for achieving the Korean gradient-lip trend, since its application lends itself well to diffused lines — not precise ones. It comes in a range of cute, fun colors, and it’s filled with moisturizers for a flake-free pout.
10 of 11
Photo: Via Aritaum.
Another product made specifically for the gradient lip, this is one of Aritaum’s best-sellers. It’s a cross between lipstick, tint, and lip balm, and, in my opinion, it does a pretty decent job at all of these. There's a domed cushion at the opposite end of the lipstick pen, which you can use to blur the hue to achieve an ombré look. Not my personal favorite — but millions of Korean women carry it around in their purses.
11 of 11
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!

More from Makeup


R29 Original Series